Future dynamic- the UK Pavilion
Future dynamic- the UK Pavilion

In 2002, Shanghai had selected as a host city of the exposition by Bureau International Des Exposition. However, different countries from all over the world have participated in that event. It was also running between May 1 to Oct 31, 2010. The theme chosen by event organizers was “Better city, Better life”. Heatherwick studio firm appointed to design the UK pavilion.

Future dynamic
Future dynamic- the UK Pavilion


The British government was aimed to strengthen -British economic and business relationships as well as trades which were announced by Dixon in2012, London Olympic and paralympic games.

Case Study of Future dynamic

  • Official name: national pavilion of United Kingdom, expo 2010
  • Also knownas:seed cathedral ,2010
  • Built-up: 6,000sqm
  • Cost: £25 million
  • Client:Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the Government of the United Kingdom
  • Designed by: Heatherwick studio firm, London
  • Country: shanghai, china
  • Type: Exhibition space
  • Building height:six storey-66 feet (20m) high
  • Year of completion:completed in 185 days in 2010


It was centrally located in shanghai, china. The numerous visitors across the world who got attracted to this striking pavilion within the six months during the expo.

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As per the brief, the architect decided to explore the relationship between nature and the city innovatively by adding a technological touch.

There were three main challenges following with the theme:

  1. The main task was to design a ground-breaking, interactive and collectively speaks about what is getting exhibited inside.
  2. Unique designing which will set in top five pavilions and will be budget friendly as less budget was allotted to the project
  3. Creating the striking exterior where people can choose whether they want to enter the building or enjoy standing outside.

So, to resolve the above challenges and theme, Heatherwick’s team decided to design a seed cathedral. Which got inspired by Kew Gardens’ Millennium Seed Bank based in London. London is the greenest city in the world.

Inspiration of Future dynamic

However, the goal and mission of the Kew gardens Millennium seed bank partnership were to collect 25% of seeds from all the world plant types by 2020.

Approach to design

The architect designed a form that stands out from the anticipated trend which is technology-driven pavilions and filled with audio-visual content on screen, projection, and speaker following theme.

Design development

In team collaboration for the wider project, the studio designed a process. That evolved an interlinked and experimental architecturally iconic seed cathedral and multi-layered landscape.

The Design Development of Future dynamic
Future dynamic
The Design Development of Future dynamic

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Design of Future dynamic

They designed the master plan by creating a focal point occupying one-fifth of the site and put in the highest level on the site, resting on its soft forest in an urban field surrounded by a concrete canopy that resembles unfolding wrapping paper and the remaining site is kept as an open space were left which helps the visitor to take a breath from expo exhaustion and also want to appreciate the building façade and decide whether they want to visit the structure from inside this aspect consider in a building design process makes it unique in concept from rest of the chaotic surrounding which also helps to cope up from compact budget allotted to the project.

plan of Future dynamic
Future dynamic
Section of Future dynamic

Spaces of Future dynamic

During London‘s history of innovation and its practice of bringing the natural world into the city, of its public parks, private and botanical gardens, and using a blending 2d -3d graphic animation, this film describes the line of thought which led to the pavilion’s final design and on-site adjustment. The Seed Cathedral sits in the center of the UK Pavilion’s site of 20 meters in height. And it is formed from flexible “hairs” composing long 60,000 slender transparent fiber optic rods pass through aluminum sleeves which were arranged around a central cube creating a soft edge which will gently sway in response to any wind movement . each rod was 7.5 meters longer casing one or more seeds at its glassy tip.

Day time

During the day, the rod draws daylight inwards to illuminate the interior. When you move around, the light moves with you. At night, light sources are inside each rod. That allows the whole structure to glow covering the pavilion in tiny points of light that dance and tingle in the breeze giving a dynamic effect to the building.

Future dynamic
evening time
night time


Future dynamic
Showing the construction
Showing the construction


The studio’s goal was to create an atmosphere of venerating around this appalling collection of the world’s botanical resources and a moment of personal introversion in a powerful silent space which was successfully achieved.

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Interior of Future dynamic

There are three walkways where visitors can visit. The first presents the modern British urban landscape, including the history of its development. The visitor will travel through models of the U.K. capitals of Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, and London, which highlight their many public parks. On the second walkway, visitors will see a model of a typical British city suspended from the ceiling, which illustrates how cities in Britain embrace nature and embrace it closely. The final walkway features a river of imaginary and real plants, which interrogate the spectator to visualize urban life that harnesses the power of nature and technology.

Future dynamic
space of Future dynamic


In order to reduce unnecessary transportation,75% of the materials for the UK Pavilion had sourced from within a radius of 300km around Shanghai. Which was recycled or reused after the end of the expo according to the British government’s intention.

Lighting design

However, the internal lighting scheme used 70,000 1w LEDs set into the acrylic rods 1m from the internal glassy tip providing enough light to illuminate the seed collection encased at the end of the rod.

Space of Future dynamic
Future dynamic
Space of Future dynamic

Ventilation at Future dynamic

The displacement ventilation system used by Atelier Ten’s Meph design for the UK pavilion. Also, the air weaving in and out of the acrylic spikes within the raised floor to discharge horizontally at a low -level on the sidewalls, returning at a high -level through near-invisible grilles helps to regulate the temperature at a comfortable level.


Design element

Fiber optical Stand – 15 m high, 10 m tall, 7.5 m long, 60,000 identical rods of clear acrylic, 250,000 seeds cast into the glassy tips


To have a continuation is building texture a special artificial grass had uniquely designed which was welcoming and restful for expo visitor. In addition, a 6,000 sq. m site covered in multi-layered landscape treatment. Also, the canopied landscape surface help to have a naturally ventilated entrance and exit of the seed cathedral. There was a circulation zone which was running along three edges of the site which depict three distinctly innovative environmental installations: green city, open city, and living city

Future dynamic
Space of Future dynamic

Awards of Future dynamic

  • won the best pavilion design award from BIE gold.
  • 2010 – RIBA Lubetkin Prize

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